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Playboy Launches Brand Studio; Mashable Looks for Viral Hits

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New York City's two-week long newfront season ended Friday with a pair of first-timers, as Playboy and Mashable both took stabs at attracting advertisers to original online videos.

"This won't be like any other newfront you've ever attended," declared emcee Waris Ahluwalia at the start of Playboy's newfront, but it wasn't all that different. Playboy's execs hit the standard notes, telling advertisers how many young viewers it gets and emphasizing how much it wants to work with them on sponsored content. However, playmates mingled with the audience, so that was different.

Playboy announced the formation of Playboy Studios, an in-house agency devoted to branded content. It will be run by Hugh Garvey, the magazine's head of branded content, and create videos, events, and activations for partners.

"We have every trick you could imagine to help brands come to life in unique and sexy ways," Garvey said.

Playboy also announced 14 upcoming unscripted and scripted online video series covering lifestyle, food and drink, comedy, documentary, and gaming.

The company's executives worked hard to reintroduce advertisers and agencies to Playboy, painting it as a trusted wingman to male millennials. The median age has dropped to 31, chief content officer Cory Jones said, and video views have jumped to 28 million per month. Playboy says its properties reach over 150 million people each month.

Mashable's newfront came at an odd time for the company, just a month after it took in $15 million in Series C funding in a round led by Turner Broadcasting, then fired dozens of members of its editorial staff, many of whom created video.

The company's big announcement was two additions to its Velocity technology suite. Joining the Velocity Dashboard, which uses natural language processing to mine for topics about to go viral, is Velocity CMS, which is used to create competitive stories on those topics, and Velocity Kg, which will optimize content for multi-platform sharing.

Mashable emphasized partnerships and platforms, saying it will produce shows with Turner, Telemundo, and Bravo, and create over 35 hours of original programming each month for Facebook Live.


At the Playboy newfront, playmates flanked DJ Chelsea Leyland and contributor Waris Ahluwalia.

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